Hilo is the largest and oldest city in the Hawaiian Islands, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Flanked by two huge volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the city is an important destination for volcanologists and anyone with a fascination for volcanic terrain. To the south of the city lies Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, where tourists can get a once in a lifetime chance to see the flowing lava from the current eruption or view the enormous smoking Halemaumau Crater. Dramatic features left from previous eruptions can also be explored on foot inside the Thurston Lava Tube at Nahuku, offering a different perspective of the lava flows. You can also witness the point where the lava meets the sea at Kalapana. The diverse landscape around the island offers a variety of activities for adventurous travellers. Whether you're a keen horse rider or prefer a day of hiking, there are plenty of trails to discover around the island. One of the most beautiful areas is the sacred Waipo Valley, the home of the Big Island's highest waterfall Hiilawe Falls and the Waipo Valley Lookout. Take a circular tour of the island and you'll discover beautiful black sandy beaches, tropical forests and enchanting scenery. If you're planning to spend time in and around Hilo, a short journey from the downtown area will lead to Rainbow Falls, a pretty waterfall amidst lush tropical foliage. To finish the day entranced by authentic Hawaiian festivities, try taking part in a luau to get a free lesson on how to dance the hula.
When to fly to Hilo
Hilo experiences high rainfall all through the year and temperatures remain high from January to December. If you want to visit Hilo during the Merrie Monarch Festival then stay here between March and April.
Between December and April accommodation prices tend to be expensive due to the large number of tourists. A better option is to visit in low season from May to November when prices are cheaper.
Getting around Hilo
There is very limited public transport on the island, so if you want to get around, you'll need to rent a car or take a guided tour. Buses and bikes can be used to get around small areas. You can find some of the tour companies located in the city.